Mohamed Salah scored the decisive penalty as Egypt beat the Ivory Coast in a shoot-out on Wednesday to advance to the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals, while organisers of the troubled tournament moved two matches away from Douala to Cameroon’s capital Yaounde.
The Liverpool star smashed home his spot-kick with the Ivory Coast’s Eric Bailly the only player to miss in the shoot-out in Douala, which Egypt won 5-4 after the last-16 tie finished goalless at the end of extra time.
Egypt, the record seven-time continental champions, go on to play Morocco in the last eight in Yaounde on Sunday.
Carlos Queiroz’s team are through to the quarter-finals despite having scored just twice in their four matches in Cameroon so far.
“Sometimes penalties are a lottery and they are, but today I think the best team on the pitch was rewarded with the penalties at the end. Today was our day,” said Queiroz.
This was their 11th AFCON encounter and still Egypt have lost just once to the Elephants—among their many successes against the Ivory Coast was their victory on penalties in the 2006 final.
“I can’t really reproach the players. It’s not as though they missed every penalty. It was just decided by a little detail,” said Ivory Coast coach Patrice Beaumelle.
The quarter-final line-up was completed by Equatorial Guinea, who stunned Mali 6-5 on penalties after a drab 0-0 draw in the late game in Limbe.
Santiago Eneme scored the decisive penalty before Malian Falaye Sacko had a kick saved by Jesus Owono as his country bowed out in the first knockout stage for the second successive Cup of Nations.
Liverpool superstar Salah was the main attraction in Douala, where fans cheered every time his face appeared on the big screen, but he sometimes struggled on the bobbly pitch at the Japoma Stadium.
After much speculation, the Confederation of African Football confirmed that the last two matches scheduled to be played there would be moved to the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde.